Bakari Wallace

black and white version of UW Crest

Title/Department: Graduate Student, Civil Society and Community Studies



Bakari A. Wallace is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he is working on his Ph.D. in Human Ecology: Civil Society & Community Research. Coming from Detroit, MI, he was awarded the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship as a graduate student of color who exemplifies outstanding academic and professional potential. His commitment to service is derived from his passion for social justice, human rights and equity for underserved communities of color. His passion continues to fuel his scholarship interests, which include political awareness and civic participation among the historically underserved African American population.

Education and Relevant Experience

In 2010, he joined a local faith-based non-profit organization in Detroit, MI, called Helping Operations for People Empowerment (H.O.P.E). Their mission is to assist formerly incarcerated community members to integrate back into their immediate families, extended networks and former communities and become socially productive citizens. While at H.O.P.E he worked as a case manager supporting individual, family and community reconciliation programs. Bakari’s initial social service experience with H.O.P.E motivated him to continue his education through the Masters of Social Work program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he was awarded the Community Builder’s Initiative Scholarship for prior exemplary academic performance and professional potential as a social worker.

Bakari’s graduate experience, combined with his passion for community mobilization, prepared him for a career in child welfare in which he worked as a Community Organizer for a children’s advocacy agency called Kid’s TALK. While there he co-organized youth development projects, expanded community-based inter-agency collaboration and provided professional trainings to industry colleagues around issues of child abuse, child sexual abuse and child neglect prevention. In 2013, while still working with Kids-TALK, Bakari began working for PPPS Healthcare, Inc. as a Youth Substance Abuse Counselor. Operating within the juvenile justice field, this particular work was exceptionally rewarding for Bakari given his drive and commitment towards positive youth development. As a Youth Substance Abuse Counselor he provided interpersonal clinical treatment and worked with African American male youth to develop life goal plans for their future success.

Now working as a Project Assistant Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s School of Human Ecology, he is currently assisting with the development and implementation of an evaluation feasibility study that aims to increase access to nutritional goods and food benefits to underserved rural communities in Wisconsin. True to his community roots Bakari’s research interests aim to increase critical consciousness and community action for positive social change among the underserved African American adolescent and adult male population. Considering himself an applied scientist, Bakari aims to use his research interests to directly benefit the African American community at large while embedding himself, personally and professionally, as an active community stakeholder. With an eye towards the future Bakari desires to one day helm a community-based organization as a Director of Operations.